Empowering Latin American Youth

“Young people are the future of humanity” is a popular quote spoken by many renowned world leaders. While some people agree with it, most of us know that young people are also important agents who help shape the present. 

In a world that is still highly adult-centered, Matías Lara knows how relevant it is to include the youth in decision-making agendas to create a more just society. And, for that he has realized how effective education, support, and a sense of community is to give the youth a seat at every table. This is what he focuses his work on as the founder and executive director of Nuestra Agenda, one of Billion Acts of Peace’s Network Members.

Nuestra Agenda“ (Our Agenda” in English) is a non-profit organization that was founded by youth for youth in Santiago del Estero, Argentina but reaches young people from all countries across the Latin American region. The organization focuses on educating the youth on the United Nations’ Agenda 2030 and 17 Sustainable Development Goals as well as empowering them by creating different creative initiatives (such as a rap contest!) and providing them with a platform to raise their voices for the causes they are passionate about. 

Matías is a 32-year-old Argentinian native who studied International Relations in college and currently balances his job at the Secretariat of Technology in his state in Argentina, being a consultant to local governments in matters regarding the SDGs and the Agenda 2030, and his work for Nuestra Agenda. He is also one of the climate change leaders for The Climate Reality Project and co-founder of Juventudes x la Paz a network of young peacemakers in Latin America.

He has a very long track record of advocating for change. He has been a Model UN volunteer since 2008 and an activist in different political, educational, and societal spaces. He’s always been on the lookout for work that effects change.

As someone working with a team that tackles different issues, he personally focuses his work on two causes that are dear to his heart. One of them is climate justice. Part of his notorious work as a climate activist has been as a very vocal and strong advocate of the Escazú Agreement which is the first international treaty in Latin America and the Caribbean concerning the environment, in his region in Argentina as well as leading a roundtable comprised of many climate activists from different parts of Latin America that worked on making sure that this agreement was being fulfilled. 

And, the other cause dear to his heart is supporting the youth. He states that the world would be a more just place if it wasn’t so adult-centric. The vast majority of the decision-making duties are fulfilled by adults, excluding young people from those highly important spaces where they should be invited to be a part of. He claims that the youth bring so much to the table because they have a less prejudiced vision of the world, are quicker to adapt to world changes, and are more open-minded.

Being young is not just an age. It is more about being open to everything that is different, new, and widespread. -Matías.

He has lived many great experiences with Nuestra Agenda but there is one that has had the most impact on him. During the pandemic, they created “Niñas al 2030 ( "Girls for 2030” in English)” an online educational program for girls ages 11-17 to learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As the participants learned about the different topics, one of them realized that one of her human rights wasn’t being met. She received help and support from the organization as well as from key partners. Matías was very thrilled to say that this situation had a happy ending where this girl’s life had a positive turn. 

A group of young people working for peace changed this girl’s life. As Matías says, peace is necessary for the development and advancement of our society. And, the search for peace for others starts with the search for peace within ourselves. He considers it important to create peace first inside your own self, at home, and for the community that surrounds you. 

Matías’s advice for those that want to create peace is:

We don’t need one person making 1 billion acts of peace, we need 1 billion people making one act of peace. 

Matías’s advice for those interested in starting their own social project, initiative, or non-profit organization is:

Just start; with anything. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose. Anything that you do for peace is highly important and valuable.

To learn more and stay in touch with Nuestra Agenda, you can follow them on their social media accounts: Facebook · Instagram · Twitter

To learn more about becoming a Network Member on the Billion Acts of Peace platform, click here. You get amazing benefits such as creating your own landing page for FREE, reaching our network of 1.2 million members worldwide, and more.

Related Articles